From the Beano to Batman—your pocket money could go further than you think. What was once a kids’ hobby now attracts the likes of Nicolas Cage, Jonathan Ross, Ben Affleck and Samuel L Jackson.

In fact, it’s become so serious that there’s such a thing as the Certified Guaranty Company, which grades comics from 1 for “fair” to ten for “gem mint”. This global system is a reliable measure of quality and ensures traders get the right price. Older comics rated ten are extremely rare.

How do I know if a comic is valuable?

Generally, the older the item, the rarer it is and hence the more valuable. For instance, a first edition of the Beano, from July 30, 1938, (only 12 known copies left) sold for £12,100 in March 2004. The most valuable comic of all is Action Comics No 1 (June 1938), a copy of which sold for £1.4m in November 2011.

Misprints, recalled editions and promotional issues are usually rare, and so higher in value. But sometimes you’d be surprised at what sells, so don’t chuck something out just because you think it’s rubbish.

How DO I Store Them?

If you want comics to hold their value, the answer is “very carefully”. As with most collectibles, the better the condition, the more you can get for them. If you want to keep your comics in top condition, make sure your hands are clean and dry when handling them, or even wear gloves. Heat, moisture and sunlight can all be damaging.

How much can I make?

A tatty, well-thumbed comic will earn you just a few pounds, even if it’s very old, but you could make £300–500 for special editions (if they’re rare enough) or for job lots.

Professional auction houses sell only the rarest comics—and specialist bookshops aren’t ideal buyers as they have to make a profit so won’t be able to offer you the best prices. An online auction or collectors’ site, though, will give you a good audience and attract serious bidders.

AtomicAvenue.com lets you list the comics you’re selling for free. (It takes a small commission when you make a sale.) You will, though, need a piece of software called ComicBase. It’s free to download and makes the whole process much easier—but if that sounds intimidating, then ComicLink.com offers auction and direct sales services as well, with no downloads necessary.

Read more articles by Jasmine Birtles here

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